Former Janata Dal (Secular) Karnataka unit chief A H Vishwanath who had helped topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government led by H D Kumaraswamy and who lost the recent by-polls on a BJP ticket, was nominated to the Upper House in Karnataka by Governor Vajubhai Vala.
Vishwanath who was earlier with Congress had joined the JD(S) after falling out with Siddaramiah and was made the JD(S) state unit chief. However, after differences with the Gowda family which controls JD(S) he had helped topple the coalition government.
However, in the December 2019 by-polls held for 15 seats, Vishwanath was one of the prominent candidates to lose contesting on a BJP ticket. He had over the last few months expressed unhappiness at not being ‘rewarded’ for his role in ensuring a BJP government in the state. He had also promised to write a tell-all book called ‘Bombay Days’ with all the details of ‘Operation Kamala’ which lead to the formation of a BJP government in the state. The title refers to the days that 17 dissident MLAs had stayed put in Bombay (Mumbai) and helped topple the coalition government in Karnataka.
Along with Vishwanath, four others have been nominated to the Vidhana Parishad by the Governor including senior BJP leaders C P Yogeshwar and Bharathi Shetty apart from Shantharama Budnna Siddi and Dr Talwar Sabanna. A senior BJP leader who did not want to be identified defended the move of nominating party leaders in the eminent citizens’ category and said: “Vishwanath has been nominated in the literature category as he has written a few books, Yogeshwar in the arts and culture as he was an actor earlier, Bharathi Shetty is a social activist, Siddi belongs to the tribal community and Talwar to the backward community.”
Political analyst Manjunath said that by nominating Vishwanath and Yogeshwar to the Upper House, CM Yediyurappa has kept his promise to reward them for helping him come back to power. Yogeshwar is an old political foe of Kumaraswamy. “While it is unfortunate that political leaders who have lost in polls are being sent to the Upper House in this way, all parties have done this and are equally guilty. In a way the current nominations are a careful balancing act of one woman, tribal, a backward class representative as well as two politically important leaders being rewarded. Yediyurappa’s stamp can be seen in the choice of candidates.”